Nancy L Van Devanter headshot

Nancy L Van Devanter


1 212 998 5328

433 First Avenue
Room 670
New York, NY 10010
United States

expand all

collapse all

Professional overview

Nancy L. Van Devanter, PhD, is a professor at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Since the 1990s, she has conducted behavioral intervention research integrating a community-based participatory research approach into the development and testing of theory-driven interventions to promote health and reduce disease in populations with significant health disparities in HIV, STDs, and tobacco-related disease. She has also worked in close collaboration with state and local health departments to develop programs improve community-level health and public health practice. Since coming to NYU, she has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborative studies with the NYU School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health Program.

She received a PhD from Columbia University School of Public Health, MPH from Harvard School of Public Health, and EdM from Boston University.



PhD - Columbia University School of Public Health (1992)
MPH - Harvard School of Public Health (1985)
EdM - Boston University (1975)
BS - Boston University (1974)
Diploma - St Agnes School of Nursing (1964)

Honors and awards

Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2011)
Public Health Achievement Award, New York City Department of Health/ Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (1999)
Fellowship in STD Prevention Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1999)
Commendation, Office the Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services for contribution to the National AIDS Education Prevention Program (1998)



Professional membership

American Nurses Association
American Public Health Association
American Sociological Association
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
Public Health Association of New York City



Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in the Dominican Republic: Perspectives of Focus Group Participants in the Santo Domingo Area

Liebermann, E. J., Van Devanter, N., Shirazian, T., Frías Gúzman, N., Niles, M., Healton, C., & Ompad, D. (2019). Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 10.1177/1043659619846247
Introduction: Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the Dominican Republic, and high rates persist despite existing Pap smear screening programs. The purpose of this study was to explore Dominican women’s knowledge and attitudes regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening practices, and perceived barriers and facilitators to early detection of cervical cancer. Method: Six focus groups (N = 64) were conducted in Spanish in urban, suburban, and rural locations, in private and public school settings, community and workplace settings, in or near Santo Domingo, as part of a larger study on barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English. Qualitative data analysis used inductive and deductive approaches. Results: Knowledge regarding HPV and cervical cancer varied across groups, but all agreed there was significant stigma and fear regarding HPV. Most women reported having Pap screening at least yearly. Follow-up of abnormal Pap testing was less consistent, with cost and uncertainty about provider recommendations identified as barriers. Discussion: Broader examination of provider-level and health system barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic is essential, in order to inform interventions to improve the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening and treatment programs and reduce preventable deaths.

On the way to Hepatitis C elimination in the Republic of Georgia—Barriers and facilitators for people who inject drugs for engaging in the treatment program: A formative qualitative study

Chikovani, I., Ompad, D., Uchaneishvili, M., Sulaberidze, L., Sikharulidze, K., Hagan, H., & Van Devanter, N. (2019). PLoS ONE, 14(4). 10.1371/journal.pone.0216123
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant public health concern worldwide. Georgia is among the countries with a high burden of HCV infection. People who inject drugs (PWID) have the highest burden of infection in Georgia. In 2015, the Government of Georgia, with partners’ support, initiated one of the world’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Programs. Despite notable progress, challenges to achieving targets persist. This qualitative study is aimed to better understand some of the barriers and facilitators to HCV testing and treatment services for PWID to inform HCV treatment policies and practices. The study instrument examined social, structural, and individual factors influencing HCV testing and treatment practices. We started with key informant interviews to guide the study instrument development and compare the study findings against health care planners’ and health care providers’ views. Forty PWID with various HCV testing and treatment experiences were recruited through the snowball method. The study found that along with structural factors such as political commitment, co-financing of diagnostic and monitoring tests, and friendly clinic environments, knowledge about HCV infection and elimination program benefits, and support from family and peers also play facilitating roles in accessing testing and treatment services. On the other hand, inability to co-pay for diagnostic tests, fear of side effects associated with treatment, poor knowledge about HCV infection, and lack of social support hampered testing and treatment practices among PWID. Findings from this study are important for increasing the effectiveness of this unique program that targets a population at high risk of HCV infection.

Effectiveness of Village Health Worker-Delivered Smoking Cessation Counseling in Vietnam

Jiang, N., Siman, N., Cleland, C. M., Van Devanter, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2018). Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21(11), 1524-1530. 10.1093/ntr/nty216
Introduction: Smoking prevalence is high in Vietnam, yet tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) is not widely available. Methods: We conducted a quasiexperimental study that compared the effectiveness of health care provider advice and assistance (ARM 1) versus ARM 1 plus village health worker (VHW) counseling (ARM 2) on abstinence at 6-month follow-up. This study was embedded in a larger two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial conducted in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Vietnam. Subjects (N = 1318) were adult patients who visited any participating CHC during the parent randomized controlled trial intervention period and were self-identified as current tobacco users (cigarettes and/or water pipe). Results: At 6-month follow-up, abstinences rates in ARM 2 were significantly higher than those in ARM 1 (25.7% vs. 10.5%; p <. 001). In multivariate analyses, smokers in ARM 2 were almost three times more likely to quit compared with those in ARM 1 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.78% to 4.92%). Compared to cigarette-only smokers, water pipe-only smokers (AOR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.26% to 0.62%) and dual users (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.45% to 0.86%) were less likely to achieve abstinence; however, the addition of VHW counseling (ARM 2) was associated with higher quit rates compared with ARM 1 alone for all smoker types. Conclusion: A team approach in TDT programs that offer a referral system for health care providers to refer smokers to VHW-led cessation counseling is a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based TDT and increasing quit rates in low middle-income countries (LMICs). TDT programs may need to adapt interventions to improve outcomes for water pipe users. Implications: The study fills literature gaps on effective models for TDT in LMICs. The addition of VHW-led cessation counseling, available through a referral from primary care providers in CHCs in Vietnam, to health care provider's brief cessation advice, increased 6-month biochemically validated abstinence rates compared to provider advice alone. The study also demonstrated the potential effectiveness of VHW counseling on reducing water pipe use. For LMICs, TDT programs in primary care settings with a referral system to VHW-led cessation counseling might be a promising and potentially scalable model for increasing access to evidence-based treatment.

Application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to assess factors that may influence implementation of tobacco use treatment guidelines in the Viet Nam public health care delivery system

VanDevanter, N., Kumar, P., Nguyen, N., Nguyen, L., Nguyen, T., Stillman, F., Weiner, B., & Shelley, D. (2017). Implementation Science : IS, 12(1). 10.1186/s13012-017-0558-z
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, CFIR provided a valuable framework for evaluating factors that may influence implementation of a systems-level intervention for tobacco control in a LMIC and understand what adaptations may be needed to translate a model of care delivery from a HIC to a LMIC.TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02564653 . Registered September 2015.BACKGROUND: Services to treat tobacco dependence are not readily available to smokers in low-middle income countries (LMICs) where smoking prevalence remains high. We are conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of two strategies for implementing tobacco use treatment guidelines in 26 community health centers (CHCs) in Viet Nam. Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), prior to implementing the trial, we conducted formative research to (1) identify factors that may influence guideline implementation and (2) inform further modifications to the intervention that may be necessary to translate a model of care delivery from a high-income country (HIC) to the local context of a LMIC.METHODS: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with CHC medical directors, health care providers, and village health workers (VHWs) in eight CHCs (n = 40). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and translated into English. Two qualitative researchers used both deductive (CFIR theory driven) and inductive (open coding) approaches to analysis developed codes and themes relevant to the aims of this study.RESULTS: The interviews explored four out of five CFIR domains (i.e., intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, and individual characteristics) that were relevant to the analysis. Potential facilitators of the intervention included the relative advantage of the intervention compared with current practice (intervention characteristics), awareness of the burden of tobacco use in the population (outer setting), tension for change due to a lack of training and need for skill building and leadership engagement (inner setting), and a strong sense of collective efficacy to provide tobacco cessation services (individual characteristics). Potential barriers included the perception that the intervention was more complex (intervention characteristic) and not necessarily compatible (inner setting) with current workflows and staffing historically designed to address infectious disease prevention and control rather than chronic disease prevention and competing priorities that are determined by the MOH (outer setting).

Challenges and Resources for Nurses Participating in a Hurricane Sandy Hospital Evacuation

Van Devanter, N., Raveis, V., Kovner, C., McCollum, M., & Keller, R. (2017). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(6), 635-643. 10.1111/jnu.12329
Purpose: Weather-related disasters have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2012, severe flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy necessitated the mid-storm patient evacuation of New York University Langone Medical Center. The purpose of this study was to explore, from the nurses’ perspective, what the challenges and resources were to carrying out their responsibilities, and what the implications are for nursing education and preparation for disaster. Design: This mixed-methods study included qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of nurses and an online survey of nurses who participated in the evacuation. Methods: The interviews explored prior disaster experience and training, communication, personal experience during the evacuation, and lessons learned. The cross-sectional survey assessed social demographic factors, nursing education and experience, as well as potential challenges and resources in carrying out their disaster roles. Findings: Qualitative interviews provided important contextual information about the specific challenges nurses experienced and their ability to respond effectively. Survey data identified important resources that helped nurses to carry out their roles, including support from coworkers, providing support to others, personal resourcefulness, and leadership. Nurses experienced considerable challenges in responding to this disaster due to limited prior disaster experience, training, and education, but drew on their personal resourcefulness, support from colleagues, and leadership to adapt to those challenges. Conclusions: Disaster preparedness education in schools of nursing and practice settings should include more hands-on disaster preparation exercises, more “low-tech” options to address power loss, and specific policies on nurses’ disaster roles. Clinical Relevance: Nurses play a critical role in responding to disasters. Learning from their disaster experience can inform approaches to nursing education and preparation.

Enabling a Disaster-Resilient Workforce: Attending to Individual Stress and Collective Trauma

Raveis, V., Van Devanter, N., Kovner, C., & Gershon, R. (2017). Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(6), 653-660. 10.1111/jnu.12340
Purpose: Superstorm Sandy forced the evacuation and extended shutdown of New York University Langone Medical Center. This investigation explored how nurses were impacted by the disasters and how they can best be supported in their nursing responsibilities. Design: Sequential mixed methods were used to explore the psychosocial issues nurses experienced throughout the course of this natural disaster and its lingering aftermath. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted from April to June 2013 with a subsample of nurses who participated in the evacuation deployment (n = 16). An anonymous, Internet-based cross-sectional survey sent to all registered nurses employed at the hospital at the time of the storm explored storm impact and recovery. Between July and September 2013, 528 surveys were completed. Findings: The qualitative data revealed challenges in balancing professional obligations and personal concerns. Accounts described dealing in the immediate recovery period with unexpected job changes and resultant work uncertainty. The storm's lingering aftermath did not signify restoration of their predisaster lifestyle for some, but necessitated coping with this massive storm's long-lasting impact on their personal lives and communal loss. Conclusions: Nurses working under the rapidly changing, uncontrolled, and potentially dangerous circumstances of a weather-related disaster are also experiencing concerns about their families’ welfare and worries about personal loss. These multiple issues increase the psychosocial toll on nurses during a disaster response and impending recovery. Clinical Relevance: Awareness of concerns and competing demands nurses experience in a disaster and aftermath can inform education and services to enable nurses to perform their critical functions while minimizing risk to patients and themselves.

Health care providers' adherence to tobacco treatment for waterpipe, cigarette and dual users in Vietnam

Shelley, D., Kumar, P., Lee, L., Nguyen, L. T., Nguyen, T. T., VanDevanter, N., Cleland, C. M., & Nguyen, N. T. (2017). Addictive Behaviors, 64, 49-53. 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.08.010
Background Almost half of adult men in Vietnam are current cigarette smokers. Recent surveys also suggest a high prevalence of water pipe use, particularly in rural areas. Yet services to treat tobacco dependence are not readily available. The purpose of this study was to characterize current tobacco use treatment patterns among Vietnamese health care providers and factors influencing adherence to recommended guidelines for tobacco use screening and cessation interventions for water pipe, cigarette and dual users. Methods We conducted cross sectional surveys of 929 male current tobacco users immediately after they completed a primary care visit at one of 18 community health centers. Results Thirty-four percent of smokers used cigarettes only, 24% water pipe only, and 42% were dual users. Overall 12% of patients reported that a provider asked them if they used tobacco products during the visit. Providers were significantly more likely to screen cigarette smokers compared with water pipe or dual users (16%, 9% and 11% respectively). Similarly, 9% of current cigarette smokers received advice to quit compared to 6% of water pipe and 5% of dual users. No patients reported that their health care provider offered them assistance to quit (e.g., self-help materials, referral). Conclusion Despite ratifying the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Vietnam has not made progress in implementing policies and systems to ensure smokers are receiving evidence-based treatment. High rates of water pipe and dual use indicate a need for health care provider training and policy changes to facilitate treatment for both cigarette and water pipe use.

Nursing Education to Reduce Use of Tobacco and Alternative Tobacco Products: Change Is Imperative

Van Devanter, N., Katigbak, C., Naegle, M., Zhou, S., Sherman, S., & Weitzman, M. (2017). Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 23(6), 414-421. 10.1177/1078390317711252
BACKGROUND: Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. OBJECTIVE: To assess perceived tobacco educational preparation of undergraduate and graduate nurses in a large urban university. DESIGN: A cross-sectional web-based survey of all nursing students in an urban college of nursing was conducted to assess perceived tobacco educational content, skills, and self-efficacy for cessation counseling with patients who smoke cigarettes and use alternative tobacco products (e.g., hookah and e-cigarettes). RESULTS: Participants reported the most education about health effects of tobacco use (67%), and less than 6% reported education about alternative tobacco products. While the majority of nurses agreed that advising patients to quit is a priority, less than 40% reported receiving sufficient training in cessation counseling. CONCLUSIONS: There continues to be a compelling need articulated by leaders in tobacco policy and research over the past decade for a more vigorous response by nurses to the tobacco epidemic.

Social Norms and Self-Efficacy to Quit Waterpipe Use: Findings from a Tobacco Study among Male Smokers in Rural Viet Nam

Kumar, P. C., Cleland, C. M., Latkin, C., Vandevanter, N., Siman, N., Nguyen, T., Nguyen, L., Nguyen, N., & Shelley, D. (2017). Journal of Smoking Cessation, 1-8. 10.1017/jsc.2017.20
Introduction: Waterpipe use is a significant health concern in low- and middle-income countries like Viet Nam, yet there is a lack of research on factors that may influence use and self-efficacy to quit among adults. Aims: This study examined the relationship between social norms related to waterpipe use and self-efficacy to quit among male waterpipe smokers in Viet Nam. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 214 adult male waterpipe smokers enrolled in a large cluster–randomised controlled trial conducted in a rural province in Viet Nam. Associations between social norms related to waterpipe smoking and the participants’ confidence to quit waterpipes were assessed using hierarchical regression models to account for differences among study sites and other covariates. Results: Self-efficacy to quit smoking was positively associated with immediate family members’ not minding participants smoking and with extended family's encouragement to quit smoking. Conclusions: The findings suggest the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the functions and characteristics of the social context of waterpipe smoking, including the social networks of waterpipe smokers, to inform effective cessation interventions for waterpipe smokers.

Tobacco cessation in Vietnam: Exploring the role of village health workers

Nguyen, N., Nguyen, T., Chapman, J., Nguyen, L., Kumar, P., VanDevanter, N., & Shelley, D. (2017). Global Public Health, 1-11. 10.1080/17441692.2017.1360376
The purpose of this study was to explore current tobacco use treatment (TUT) practice patterns, and attitudes and beliefs among Village Health Workers (VHWs) about expanding their role to include delivering smoking cessation interventions and the perceived barriers. We conducted a survey of 449 VHWs from 26 communes in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam. We assessed TUT practice patterns including asking about tobacco use, advising smokers to quit, offering assistance (3As) and attitudes, self-efficacy, and norms related to TUT. Seventy two per cent of VHWs reported asking patients if they use tobacco, 78.6% offered advice to quit, and 41.4% offered cessation assistance to few or more patients in the past month. Self-efficacy was low, with 53.2% agreeing that they did not have the skills to counsel patients about smoking cessation. The most commonly reported barriers to offering TUT were a lack of training and perceived lack of patient interest. Greater awareness of their commune health centre’s smoke-free policy and higher levels of self-efficacy were associated with screening and offering cessation assistance. VHWs support an expanded role in tobacco cessation, but require additional resources and training to increase their self-efficacy and skills to provide effective treatment.

Active Projects